Imagine being able to acquire a family history research degree online. Thanks to a productive partnership with the Family History Department and BYU-Idaho over the past three years, the university introduced this year a new online Applied Associate Degree (AAS) in Family History Research.
By completing rigorous coursework, students obtain knowledge and apply skills in family history research, and gain a strong professional foundation. Those who complete the degree are well along the path to eventually acquiring the professional accreditation of their choice.
The courses emphasize research skills and methodology essential for professional genealogists. The program includes 18 courses that teach the following:
- Research methodology
- Internet and computer skills
- How to read old handwriting
- Professional research skills
- Genealogical report writing
- Research in specific geographic areas
- How to create and manage a small genealogy business
The courses follow the standard semester schedule, and include collaborative learning experiences with the instructor and fellow students. Each course in the program offers 14 weeks of instruction, including activities, asassignments and discussions. Assignments focus on applying skills learned in readings and activities, and are primarily project-based. (These genealogical courses are not to be confused with the Religion Course 261 which offers the doctrinal background and beginning steps to work in family history.)
The idea for a BYU-Idaho family history degree program began a few years ago with President Kim Clark, in discussion with leaders of the Family History Department. He had a goal for an online degree that would develop strong research skills and create excellent employment opportunities for students. Family History Department leaders were confident it could be done.
A very capable team of Family History Library employees took on the task of providing the content for the courses. The content development project was managed by Carol Clark, with consultation early on from Linda Gulbrandsen, who was then manager of the United States and Canada Research Unit. The project management team consisted of Tammy Stansfield, who served as the genealogical expert, Valerie Hansen, Randy Hoffman, and Fred Graham. The team worked with Family History Library research consultants and contracted professional genealogists who developed the course content. Under the direction of the project management team, content specialists followed the BYU-Idaho learning model in developing content. As materials were developed, the online curriculum managers at BYU-Idaho developed the courses now offered through the degree.
BYU-Idaho’s Applied Associate Degree in Family History Research has been an inspired addition to the university’s degree offerings as we enter a new age of family history research. Greater record availability and access, along with collaborative pathways, have advanced in this day of internet research and social media applications. Alan Young, BYU-Idaho Online Learning Managing Director, has said, “We look forward with anticipation to our experiences with the students in this program as they add to their education and prepare for a family history career.”
For further information on the Family History Research degree, see the BYU-Idaho web page: AAS in Family History Research.